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“I’m very passionate about customer happiness.”
So said Naked Wines’ marketing director James Bagley in the last talk I attended on the Social Stage at the Festival of Marketing.
It’s rare that I complain to a company via social, but when I do, like many people, I expect a quick and effective response.
We’re so used to immediacy through social media that it’s very easy for brands to trip up and fail to meet customer expectations.
Dealing with customer service queries and complaints is a challenge for many brands, calling into question response times, how many staff hours should be dedicated to social, what the company tone will be, and how to answer within a 140 character limit.
While ecommerce has come a long way in recent years, it still has a long way to go.
One of the main problems with online shopping is that a certain amount of guesswork is always required before making a purchase.
Customers are never quite sure about the quality of an item, since they can’t touch it like they would when shopping in person.
Instead, they are forced to rely on small photos and glib product descriptions.
For budget brands like Travelodge and Premier Inn, do business goals matter more than than good UX and customer experience? Or are they risking poor retention rates by failing to pay attention to the latter?
Last week I had to cancel a booking I'd made with Travelodge. On investigating my lack of refund today I discovered that, as I'd booked a 'saver rate' no refund was due, even though I'd cancelled within minutes of booking.
While the mistake was mine (I'd selected the wrong dates and only realised my mistake once I'd paid), it does leave a sour taste in the mouth and makes it less likely that I will use them in future.
I though I'd take a look at the booking process of Travelodge and competitor Premier Inn (both of which offer these non-refundable saver rates) to see how effectively the two companies convey this information to customers.
If you are going to offer non-refundable rooms, it seems the least you can do is make this abundantly clear to customers, so is this the case?
Email is the preferred customer service channel among online shoppers in the UK, according to a new survey by Rakuten.
Around half (49%) of respondents said they prefer to use email compared to 43% on phone. Younger shoppers are highly likely to turn to social channels when these touch points fail, with 46% of under 25s and 33% of 25-33 year olds using social to air their grievances more publically.
However data included in a separate infographic on poor customer service suggests that the situation is very different across the pond.
Smartphones are for browsing, tablets are for buying. That’s if you believe the results of a recent Sapient/Nitro survey, which shows that 56% of consumers rate tablets as useful for shopping compared to just 38% on smartphones.
There’s no doubt any online retailer reading these results will sit up and take note. But in order to turn this into an actionable mobile strategy, it is important to understand more about consumer behaviour on mobile devices of all types and how that behaviour changes and evolves.
Recent figures published by BRC-KPMG give the UK retail industry another grim reality check.
According to the report, there was only a small 2.3% rise in total UK retail sales numbers during February 2012, a significant slowdown when compared to January (where sales grew 11.3%) and 2011 (where overall growth was 18.5%).
Mobile is booming. Chances are that, if you’re shopping online in 2012, increasingly you’ll be carrying out part of the transaction on a mobile device.
The majority of smartphone users are now using a mobile device to browse and shop online while, in the UK, 5m tablet owners are expected to purchase a second device in 2012.
IHS screen digest recently released research predicting that in-app purchases will hit £3.6 billion in 2015, accounting for as much as 64% of mobile app market revenues.
So one thing is clear: if optimising your mobile channel isn’t high on your list of priorities in 2012, it really should be.
As discussed in a previous blog post, customer experience needs to be at the heart of your mobile strategy in 2012.
With online forums, comment boxes online and the growing number of brands with a social media presence, a customer has more ways than ever before to vent their frustrations following a poor online customer experience.
What’s more, a customer who has a poor experience online using a mobile device can use the very same device to log on to Facebook or Twitter and tell their entire network of friends and family about the poor mobile online experience they encountered.
Once again we see that young consumers want to be able to address customer service issues using social media, according to a new study by Sitel.
Led by consumers aged under 25, Britons are turning to social media sites – including Facebook, Twitter, blogs and forums – to solve problems, search for information or voice complaints.
Social media and customer service would seem to be a match made in heaven. In 2012, more and more brands will commit beyond simply responding to customers on Twitter.
Brands are actively recruiting customers into online communities to help them develop products, give feedback and report issues.
First Direct’s ‘Live’ community discusses openly anything from savings rates to charitable donations, and includes a (very brave) sentiment tracker on the front page to show, live, what people think about the brand (it’s overwhelmingly positive at the time of writing).